Medical marijuana: Rob Corry announces intent to sue over MMJ laws (and swears he means it)
Last May, medical marijuana attorney Rob Corry was among a group of attorneys threatening to sue if HB 1284 and SB 109, a pair of MMJ measures, became law. Nearly a year after Governor Bill Ritter signed both bills, such a suit has yet to materialize. But Corry swears that one is on the way -- and he's written a letter to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers informing him about it. See the letter below.
Medical marijuana advocate Kathleen Chippi is trying to raise money toward her own lawsuit against HB 1284, the state's main MMJ regulatory offering, and she recently chided the aforementioned attorneys for not pulling the trigger on their promised challenge. (She also says she gave one member of the team $5,000 as a down-payment on a suit and has yet to get it back.) Legal team member Lauren Davis subsequently revealed the reasons for the non-filing, including strategic disagreements among the attorneys and a lack of funding to push forward prior to July 1 of this year, when the laws formally take effect.
As for Corry, he feels that had action been taken last year, "I think any court would have had a question about whether the suit was premature. And honestly, I wanted to see how this would play out. I wanted to see if patients would be harmed or helped by 1284. I had my suspicions, but I didn't know. I don't think anybody knew. But now, we have much more knowledge than we did then."
Of course, Corry acknowledges, some questions remain -- including how the state's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division will administer the regulations. For clues, see yesterday's interview with MMED head Dan Hartman about rejected license applications, fines and more.
Still, Corry feels the time is finally right for a filing, and he plans to do so prior to July 1 -- likely in Boulder District Court. His primary avenues of attack?
"There's a provision in the Colorado constitution that says the state legislature is required to pass any regulations related to medical marijuana by April of 2001 -- and it did pass a bill before that date. So there's an argument that 1284 and 109 are untimely and should be thrown out in total. By passing regulations after the industry was already in existence, the state acted too late -- and the constitution says that in black and white."
Couldn't the state claim the legislation was necessary because the industry developed in a way voters could never have envisioned and it would have been remiss had it not acted?
"That would be an argument if there wasn't a specific constitutional authority to the contrary," Corry maintains. "The state's option would have been to amend the constitution to allow it more time. And it didn't do that."